City hero Georgi Kinkladze could lure Nani away from Manchester United as Zenit St Petersburg plot summer swoop

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United winger Nani is being lured to Russia by former City hero Georgi Kinkladze as Zenit St Petersburg plot a late summer-swoop.

The 25-year-old Portuguese international has never truly fulfilled his promise at United – often falling in the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez – but he could be on his way out at the hands of a City legend.

Kinkladze played 106 times for the Blues from 1995 to 1998, shining as a solo dribbler and exquisite finisher, and ended his career with Rubin Kazan.

And despite snubbing their noses at offers for £25million-rated Nani, Kinkladze’s connections could help striker a deal between the Moscow-based club and United.

Last Friday, Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti made his intentions of signing Nani clear to the world.

“Are we interested in Hulk and Nani? Yes we are,” Spalletti said. “Everything’s going to depend on how much they cost.

“There are three more players who we’re holding negotiations with besides Nani and Hulk (FC Porto), but I won’t name them. But if you want one more name, it’s (Ibrahim) Afellay (of Barcelona).”

Zenit have won the Russian league for the past two seasons and could also use international teammate Bruno Alves to entice Nani to the club as they hunt further success in the Champions League.

But with Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa adding to the competition for Nani’s position – as well as Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young also capable of filling in on the left flank – Nani’s future looks in jeopardy at United unless he can fulfil his once promising potential.

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